Concealed Carry & Home Defense

HOOBER: “But The Israelis Do It” And Other Failures Of Critical Thinking

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

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By Sam Hoober

Critical thinking is one of the most underrated skills that a person can develop, whether it has to do with concealed carry/self defense or hell, life itself.

If you do something, you want to think about why you do it. If you don’t have a good reason for it, then you shouldn’t do it.

A fantastic example is people who carry with an empty chamber, aka “Israeli carry” and its ugly cousin, carrying a 1911 with the hammer down.

People who do so are doing these dumb things for the same reason. Occasionally, they’ll offer a fallacious justification relating to a military practice in a bid to whitewash inexperience, a lack of confidence, a lack of training, or just outright foolery.

In other words, a person will carry a gun with an empty chamber and when questioned about it, will say something like “but the Israelis do it.”

Here’s why that’s a failure of critical thinking.

For starters, the reason why that practice was implemented by the Israelis in the first place was because they didn’t have domestic manufacturing yet. They had to procure pistols from wherever they could and couldn’t necessarily buy enough of one kind of pistol for everyone.

Some guys got Hi Powers, some got something different, and so on and so forth.

Now, part of how a military does business is that it has to train people. Not only that, but it has to train people that don’t know one thing about guns or shooting. Not only that, but they have to make them competent with guns in a minimal amount of time because any time spent on pistol training is time not spent on rifle training, which is far more valuable in a military context.

And if a military has a hodgepodge of pistols of different makes and models, how do you do that? Training each person up on how to run the specific pistol they’re issued is entering a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest.

It’s a whole lot easier to find a way to teach people to be able to use any gun. Lo and behold, the “Israeli carry” method works for that.

The armed citizen just isn’t in the same situation, so that isn’t a justification.

When a person says that, what they mean is “I’m not confident in my ability to safely carry a loaded gun.” When questioned about it, a person who admits to empty chamber carry will usually offer a poor rationalization, but we all know that’s exactly what they mean.

Similarly, when a person carries a 1911 in Condition Two, the real reason is “I’m not confident enough in my gun to carry with the safety engaged.” They will likewise offer a weak justification that just amounts to the same thing in different words.

And not only that, but real-world testing and results have proven that an empty chamber is dumber than a bag of hammers.

Don’t take my word for it; here’s Jerry Miculek.



Jerry Miculek, objectively one of the best living pistol shooters in the world and possibly up there for best that will ever walk the earth, can draw a S&W Bodyguard .380 from his pocket holster and fire in 1 second. It takes him 1.6 seconds with an unloaded chamber.

That’s a 60 percent increase in the time to first shot, and that’s for Jerry Miculek.

Gerald Horace “Boomer” McFuddleston III who carries chamber-empty and says “shot timers will get you kilt in the streets”? One can only imagine, but it’s almost certainly going to be too slow to be combat effective.

Don’t take my word for it; here’s Active Self Protection.



An armed citizen, in a fast food restaurant that gets robbed, is caught unawar and has to draw and chamber a round before he starts shooting, which he does only as the robbers are leaving and no longer pose any threat to anyone.

He does that because he knows he can’t chamber a round quickly enough.

By no means is carrying with an empty chamber the only failure in critical thinking when it comes to anything related to self-defense or guns.

Pocket carrying without a holster, still using SERPAs despite ample evidence of how bad they are, leaving loaded guns in cars, and so many, many others persist, and the reasons people give for them rarely stand up if thought about critically.

Why you do something is just as important as what you do. So make sure you’re examining your own whys.

Sam Hoober is a hunter and shooter based in the Inland Northwest.